What if you could only become a Christian before the age of twenty?
"The risks facing contemporary teenagers bear solemn testimony to the church's ineffectiveness at addressing adolescence. Youth look to the church to show them something -- someone -- capable of turning their lives inside out and the world upside down. Most of the time we have offered them...pizza.” Kenda Creasy Dean Professor of Youth, Church and Culture Princeton Theological Seminary
What do you want young people who “graduate” from your church to be able to do? to know? to be ?
We aim to produce young people who are:
Passionately Christian Biblically literate Theologically and morally reflective Equipped for ministry Mission and Evangelism focussed Practising the disciplines of the Christian life
Theologically and morally reflective
Equipped for ministry
Mission and Evangelism focussed
Practising the disciplines of the Christian life
A Process for Implementing Vision in YCF Ministry What is our vision? What do the elements of it look like at each age? What program or setting might be used?
Current thinking about Youth Ministry 1. Let’s not have ‘youth ministry’ at all! Perception that YM has ‘failed’ So we should focus on Inter-generational activities Avoid youth groups becoming separated (or even ‘tumours’ on the Body). OT has no distinction between old and young, so why should we, etc. How does this sound?
Current thinking about #uthmin 2. Youth ministry continues to need a separate and intentional focus. Gospel is for everyone, including the young. We need to offer something better than the worldly message of materialism etc. The Church needs a future. The Church needs a present: youth can be assets, including as leaders. ‘Youth congregations’ anecdotally lead to growth Responses?
Is there a middle road? PINS model: Participation: involved? Visible? Integration: intergenerational? Not always separate? Normative activities: is this Anglican? Is this Christian? Are youth learning what they need to learn? Range/balance/variety? Sensitivity: age-appropriate? Allowing space and time for youth to do their own thing?
Two major themes in YM: 1. Evangelism: reaching out and attracting unchurched or lapsed members; making new Christians... 2. Discipleship: training / educating / building up those who are already believers.
Discipleship Focus upon the young people you already have, not those you don’t have. Adopt a building block model, not a funnel.
Outcomes for today Starting from scratch The importance of vision The three circles (or levels) approach How to set achievable goals Resources to make it all happen.
Starting off... Listen to God Listen to your community (needs/wants of youth) Think about the Team needed.
Volunteers 1. Request from youth for help 2. Approach people one-on-one (open-ended but tangible and manageable) 3. If interested, address the specifics (including Blue cards/SMCs etc) 4. Invest time in them (socially / training etc)
Developing young leaders “Every young person has the potential to lead and should be given the opportunity to do so.” Create opportunities. Always aiming for the next level when they’re ready.
Ministry vision A vision is a picture of your ministry in the future. It answers the question, “Where do we want to go?” It should articulate your dreams and hopes for the ministry, and remind you what you are trying to build. “Be faithful, not flashy.”
Examples That YCF Ministry will become a strategic priority in every Parish in every Region and at Diocesan level; That every Parish will have the knowledge, skills and resources it needs to shape the YCF Ministry it seeks, including Religious Education and Chaplaincy in local schools; That our YCF Ministry will lead to growth in the faith, service, generosity and number of Anglicans in Southern Queensland and beyond. Parish YG: “To see God transform our community by empowering youth to be active disciples in the body of Christ.”
Ministry vision What’s important? Simple language Concrete outcomes Room for creativity Inspires involvement
Potential pitfalls 1. Babysitting focus: ‘it doesn’t matter what we offer, as long as we’re ticking the YM box.’ 2. Program focus: ‘we need to be bigger and better than those Baptists’. 3. Method focus: ‘this method worked for me, so it will work for youth today too.’
Vision Spend a few minutes thinking about what you want your youth ministry to look like in three years’ time. What will your leadership team be like? What influence do you want your ministry to have – on young people, on your Church, on your wider community? What will success look like?
Level 1: Contact Purpose: to introduce new people to the youth group in a non-threatening environment. It’s an opportunity for non-Christians to discover that Christians have fun and care about other people. It’s not just about lots of people coming, but about making new friendships and consolidating old ones (i.e. Relationships).
Level 2: Evangelise Purpose: to share the Gospel Could be a fun program with a significant (say 15 min) evangelistic input included. This element is consistent with the theme of the event, not just tacked on. No pressure, just consistent Gospel presentation. Level 2 events are promoted to people who came to Level 1.
Level 3: Teach Purpose: to disciple young people through teaching, Bible study and prayer. This is the core group of our ministry. This is where we equip young people to minister to their peers and disciple them. Level 3 events are promoted to people who attended levels 1 and 2.
Example time Let’s compile activities you could offer for each Level. What specific resources could we draw upon?
Level 3 - the Core The success of the whole strategy depends on the quality of the core. The core needs to be a part of every circle. Remember: Building blocks, not funnels. Belong Behave Believe.
Reflect on your current offerings What Level are the events you facilitate? Is there a ‘safe’ path for new people to enter your ministry? Do you go ‘deep’ enough for the people who need that? Do we see: the Bible? Empowerment? Informal education (opportunities to learn and grow)? Equality of opportunity? What might a term program look like, using these three levels? Which level/s should we see most?
New models of YM Church-based youth group Open neighbourhood youth club (e.g. PCYC) Youth congregation (pros and cons) Uniformed group (e.g. GFS / Boys Brigade) Cell groups School-based Detached missions (‘Fresh expressions’)
Setting SMART Goals Specific – who, what, where? Measurable – can it be measured? Achievable – skills, abilities, $$ Realistic – willing and able to achieve it Time specific – or there’s no sense of urgency! Don’t forget regular review and evaluation.
Let’s set some goals... Write down 1 SMART goal for two areas: Your youth ministry leadership team A specific event
What if we’re working with a small youth group? Remember what you are there for: Relationships Relevance Real life Renewing hope (Av. Church size in the US is now 78 people, with about 10% being youth...)
Focus on Building strong relationships (time: quality and quantity) The young people you have, not those you don’t. “Be Faithful, not Flashy.”
Program for: A small group (if that’s what you have). Depth over breadth. If fewer activities, make them impactful and memorable. Choose resources which will allow you to get to know each other really well. Starting social. Have a fun planning meeting to make the term engaging.
Typical YG program Intro Icebreaker game Worship time Game or activity Teaching input Small group Bible study / discussion Prayer / reflection Recap
Venue Do you have a dedicated space? Does it do what you want it to?
Find: Opportunities to connect with larger events (Don’t be afraid of losing kids to ‘the opposition’.)
Engage in: Life-changing activities together. Be proud of who you are and what you do. Remember that you are not alone!
Resources Money? GFS grants are available Program ideas? Recommended Resourceswww.aycf.org.au (Don’t forget Diocesan policies etc – safety first.) Help and encouragement?
Sticky Faith (Fuller Institute, US)
Jonathan Kemp (07) / (MEC, Anglican Diocese of Brisbane)